Structural variations and expression profiles of the SARS-CoV-2 host invasion genes in lung cancer

J Med Virol. 2020 Nov;92(11):2637-2647. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26107. Epub 2020 Jun 19.


Recent days have seen growing evidence of cancer's susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and of the effect of genomic differences on the virus' entrance genes in lung cancer. Genetic confirmation of the hypotheses regarding gene expression and mutation pattern of target genes, including angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), basigin (CD147/BSG) and paired basic amino acid cleaving enzyme (FURIN/PCSK3), as well as correlation analysis, was done in relation to lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous carcinoma (LUSC) using in silico analysis. Not only were gene expression and mutation patterns detected, but also there were correlation and survival analysis between ACE2 and other target genes expression levels. The total genetic anomaly carrying rate of target genes, including ACE2, TMPRSS2, CD147/BSG, and FURIN/PCSK3, was determined as 8.1% and 21 mutations were detected, with 7 of these mutations having pathogenic features. p.H34N on the RBD binding residues for SARS-CoV-2 was determined in our LUAD patient group. According to gene expression analysis results, though the TMPRSS2 level was statistically significantly decreased in the LUSC patient group compared to healthy control, the ACE2 level was determined to be high in LUAD and LUSC groups. There were no meaningful differences in the expression of CD147 and FURIN genes. The challenge for today is building the assessment of genomic susceptibility to COVID-19 in lung cancer, requiring detailed experimental laboratory studies, in addition to in silico analyses, as a way of assessing the mechanism of novel virus invasion that can be used in the development of effective SARS-CoV-2 therapy.

Keywords: ACE2; CD147; Covid-19; FURIN; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; TMPRSS2; lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / genetics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / genetics
  • Basigin / genetics
  • COVID-19 / virology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Furin / genetics
  • Gene Expression*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Virus Internalization


  • BSG protein, human
  • Basigin
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • TMPRSS2 protein, human
  • FURIN protein, human
  • Furin